11 Duncan St
Toronto, ON M5V 3M2
Byblos is usually considered one of the best restaurants in Toronto by many of my peers. This small restaurant near Duncan and King St. offers up Mediterranean fare tapas style. The setting is gorgeous as the interior is classically designed and has that right mix of bright and intimate. There are so many unique food options that are offered and its hard to choose just 2-3 per person (recommended). The best thing to do is come in a large group and try as many as you can.
We started the night off with their lamb ribs. The Lamb Ribs are a popular dish of theirs and comes highly recommended. The ribs are tender and fall right off the bone. They are coated in dukkah, Egyptian spice mix, that lends it a very nutty flavor. The meat was tasty and slightly gamey (like most lamb) and is served atop a small pool of buttermilk and has a dollop of red chili schug.
The night continued with Crispy Rock Shrimp. The shrimp are lightly battered and tossed in a spicy coating. It's served with a spread of yogurt that helped cool the heat a bit. The Duck Kibbeh was an interesting dish. It wasn't bad, but I did find the combination a bit dry and without a strong duck flavor within it. The spices were good and the tahini mixed with molasses was tasty, but wouldn't order again. Thrice Fried Fries were great. It's seasoned with za'atar (spice blend) and served with a garlic toum.
Their Turkish Manti Dumplings were outstanding! I loved this dish and was probably my favorite of the night. The dumplings were actually rather light despite how heavy the dish actually is. It sits on a bed of roasted eggplant, yogurt sauce, and molasses. The combination was heavenly. Spoonful after spoonful was just better than the last. Must order.
The Middle Eastern Fried Chicken was a solid dish as well. 4 large pieces of boneless fried chicken breast with some middle eastern spices dusted atop. The skin was crisp, while the meat underneath was moist and steaming hot. The fact that it was boneless was nice. You could just dip it right into their schug hot sauce, which I found to be unique, but would have loved more heat.
The servers are fantastic. Not only do they go over the style of ordering with you, but they make some great recommendations and describe each dish wonderfully. Service was amazing and really enhances the experience as a whole, especially in such a beautiful setting. The price can be rather steep, but it didn't even bother me one bit cause of how unique, beautiful, and friendly the whole Byblos experience was. Definitely worth coming to over and over. Too bad reservations can be quite hard to come by.
Ambience: A | Service: A | Price: B | Food: A